Andrew Heber, a new member of the Hobby Area District board of directors, is an insurance agent with State Farm and a real estate investor who owns property within the district. Heber shared his thoughts about his new position, his work at State Farm and in real estate, and life in general:

Q: What is your job?

A: I’ve been a State Farm insurance agent for the last nine years, and I also invest in real estate. My wife and I started investing in real estate around 2007. We started with buying and fixing up single-family homes back when we lived in Indiana.

Now, I do real estate syndication. I find a property I’d like to purchase as a syndicator, I find investors to be part of the deal, and then I manage the property. I syndicated an apartment complex near the Hobby District offices. It’s my second syndication.

Q: How did you come to be on the board?

A: The management district came onto my radar when I found out that they offer property improvement grants. My partners and I got one, we did a security upgrade to our property, added outdoor lighting, and improved the facade with nice landscaping. Then I started to attend district meetings and got interested in what the district was working on.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born in South Dakota, lived in Nebraska, and then in Manhattan, Kansas. My dad, who’s a professor, got an opportunity at Purdue University. That’s what brought us to Indiana when I was 13. I did my undergraduate in Florida, then I went back to Indiana to do both my master’s in engineering and my MBA at Purdue.

Q: What brought you to Houston?

A: I was working for Caterpillar Inc. in Indiana. They had an opportunity for me here in Houston, and I took it, and my family and I came to Houston in 2011.

We loved the area, being here in Texas, the friendliness of the community, and so we decided to make it a permanent move. In 2013, I resigned from Caterpillar and I started doing my training for State Farm.

I also joined a local education and mentoring group for real estate investors, Lifestyles Unlimited, where I got training on how to do real estate syndication. The group has had a significant impact on my life.

Q: What are you hoping to contribute to the Hobby Area District board?

A: As a business owner myself, some of my property taxes go to fund the Hobby District. As I got more involved by attending meetings, I wanted to help make sure that the funds being collected were being used to benefit the district in the best ways possible.

Q: How will you use your background and skills as a member of the board?

A: Having a property in the district gives me some skin in the game to make sure that there are benefits for the whole district. It’s in my best interest for the district to improve and to be a place where people want to stay.

My educational background also gives me a good understanding of the financials. I know what questions to ask. I also have two engineering degrees. My business experience overall will be beneficial, too, to making sure we’re using funds wisely and we’re staying within our budgets.

I’ve also networked with other property owners in the area, so have a good feel for the local real estate market, what’s happening with rents and safety.

Q: What makes this management district so special?

A: Our airport gives us a lot of incoming and outgoing traffic, people coming here for business. We have an opportunity to help people feel safe when they’re coming into and out of town and give a good impression of Houston. That’s unique to the Hobby District.

Q: What are some of your interests and hobbies?

A: Between State Farm and my real estate projects, I work a lot, but I really enjoy spending time with my seven kids, yes, seven kids. It was always my wife’s dream to have a large family. We have kids ranging in age from 7 to 17, and we all enjoy taking trips together as a family.

— by Deborah Lynn Blumberg